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SEO Analyser is a Free SEO Checker, How Does it Stack Up?

Neil Patel’s Free SEO Check Up Tool is Easy to Use

(TL;DR – If you’d rather watch the video review of this tool, click here)

[Note: Check out the other SEO Checker reviews we’ve posted on our blog or on our YouTube channel]

Neil Patel is one of the most recognizable names in Digital Marketing. He has his very successful online fingers in a number of different projects. If you do a search for “SEO Checkers,” one of his lead generating website typically comes up in the top 3 (which is a testament to his SEO chops).  This tool is called the “SEO Analyzer.” On the home page of the tool website, it boldly claims: “If you’re struggling to get more visitors to your site, the answer might just lie in this FREE report!” Let’s find out if that’s true.

Picture of SEO Check up tool SEO Analyzer home page

Orange is the new black…or something like that. The current home page for SEO Analyzer greets you with an action oriented field of orange and numerous pop-ups.

Let’s see what insight for struggling web marketers the SEO Analyzer might offer!

First of all, one of the nice things about this tool is that it does not demand your email address to allow you to use it. On the down side of that, you do have to put up with serial pop-up messages, and to dismiss them you have to click on links that say something like “No, I don’t want more traffic.”  C’mon guys, really?

For this analysis, I chose a website called ArtisansOfColorado.com, belonging to friends of mine who will admit the site has been somewhat neglected over the years.

Home page screen capture of artisansofcolorado.com, a website for colorado art and artists

In any case, I think it’s a great site to let a tool like the SEO Analyzer prove its worth, since ArtisansOfColorado.com has never been Search Engine Optimized. It’s the perfect guinea pig.

Page Level SEO Analysis – a Basic 19-Point Check

Screen capture of SEO Score for our test website

ArtisansOfColorado is just a tad above being thrown out of school, with a grade of C-

The first order of priority for SEO Analyzer is a variety of factors that contribute to the success of your site from an SEO perspective. In this case the analysis tells me that the site passed 14 checks and failed or under-performed on 5 other checks. Although this is of course a very short list of checks (Google, for example, uses about 200 ranking signals to evaluate a website and how it will perform in search results), nevertheless, Neil has had his team focus on a manageable list. And the list does include some of the most critical and most often missed factors for SEO novices.

  • Site title tags (presence of one, is it duplicated, too short, too long)
  • Meta description tag (presence of tag, too short, too long, duplicated, etc)
  • The Robots.txt faux pas, i.e. blocking of the page
  • The formation of the URLs
  • Presence of elements that might frustrate Google and Bing, such as flash and iframes
  • Presence of heading tags (e.g. H1, H2, etc) and whether any which are found are too short
  • Poor internal linking practices

If you’re just getting started with SEO, this is a good basic analysis that could be useful in finding some of the key gotchas on your site.

Still, it’s just a start, and numerous factors are not really addressed (for example, SEO Analyzer gave a warning about overly short H2 tags, but neglected to point out that this page doesn’t even have an H1 tag, which is a key missed opportunity for on page optimization).

Page Level Speed Score

screen capture of website seo speed analysis

Here’s the speed score for our test site. These numbers won’t mean much without some context. The actual letter grade is, for some reason, buried in the details.

The SEO Analyzer obviously places a lot of emphasis on the speed component of your web page, as illustrated by the fact that the Page Level Speed Score is placed at the very top of the analytical metrics it offers you. This is certainly in line with current thinking, since the speed with which your page loads is an important factor in how well you do, not only in search results, but also in attracting and retaining visitors to your key pages.

If you click on speed recommendations you’ll be taken to a tabbed box offering three choices:

  • Content analysis
  • Full Report
  • Web Performance

As you might tell from the screen captures below, there’s a fair amount of detail here. Unless you’re comfortable with the technical side of web development, it’s best to just shoot these details over to your web developer (if you have one), or find a web developer (if you don’t) to try to make sense of them and implement them.

Speed analysis screen shot

screen capture of speed recommendations

Time to get a geek involved. This is great detail, but beyond the grasp of non-tech people.

Mobile and Desktop Views

SEO Analyzer addresses the issue of mobile usability by showing you how your page lays out on different devices, although it doesn’t really discuss some of the more technical indicators of mobile usability.  Still, for most beginners, the visual representation is probably the easiest and quickest way to grasp whether your web page is presenting your company properly on that growing percentage of users who will visit your site with their phones. The tool also has a helpful line to show you were a typical user would have to scroll to see more of your message.

screen capture of mobile seo views

Click on the various tabs to see your web page in desktop, tablet, and mobile device views. The orange line shows the “fold,” the invisible line below which your content will only be seen by scrolling.

Backlinks and Indexed Pages

screen capture of a backlinks counter on this SEO checker

The backlinks counter on SEO Analyzer needs to offer more clarity about what its reporting.

This is the weakest section of SEO Analyzer.  The backlinks counter on this page, for example, says that it’s reporting on backlinks to “artisansofcolorado.com,” seeming to indicate that it is reporting on links to the domain.  But on the other hand, it says “websites” linking to artisansofcolorado.com, and in SEO parlance this would be referring domains, a much different metric than backlinks.

Additionally, this number doesn’t match up with other respected services.  Majestic.com reports 173 backlinks and 25 referring domains in their “fresh” index.  Moz.com reports 2,666 links.  So it would be interesting, first to clarify where this number is coming from, secondly if it is reporting on links or referring domains, and finally if it is links to any of the pages on the domain. Until these questions are answered, this metric has limited value.

screen capture of number of pages indexed indicator

This number is perplexing, since Google reports almost 7,000 URLs in its index for this domain.

More disappointing is the number of pages indexed figure. This typically refers to the number of pages that Google reports in its “index” for a particular domain. Although SEO Analyzer doesn’t really specify which index its reporting (after all, in theory it could be Bing), if we make the logical assumption that it is referring to pages in Google’s index then this number is simply wrong.

The usual way to query Google about the results in its index for a domain is to do something called a site search, as indicated in the screen capture.  Google reports almost 8,000 results for this domain, a far cry from zero.

 

 

screen capture of google search results

Keyword Usage Analysis

Like many SEO Checkers, the way that SEO Analyzer handles a context analysis of the text of this pages is to present you with a frequency grid (see screen capture, below).

screen capture of keyword usage grid in SEO analyzer

It divides its results into the number of times a particular keyword appears not only in the body text, but also in key SEO elements such as the <title>, meta description, and headings (all variants, presumably).  It also endeavors to do the same grid for 2-word and 3-word phrases.

screen capture of text usage on web page itselfThis is a useful way to immediately see which words dominate your content, however the 2-word and 3-word phrases often miss the mark, combining words in ways that don’t really make sense, such as the phrase pictured at right, which is listed in the keyword grid as “right place artisans.”

One other minor criticism is combining all the heading <h> elements together.  The SEO importance of an <h1>, for example, is far different than an <h3>, as is its recommended optimization.

But Wait, There’s More…

In this blog post I’ve mainly dealt with the Website Analyzer, but SEO Analyzer also includes two other related tools. The competitor analysis pulls the top-level metrics (Estimated traffic, SEO score, and speed score) for up to 3 other web pages and presents the results. Naturally that’s a very broad measure and doesn’t go very far toward doing a true competition analysis, but it’s something.

There is also a keyword suggestion tool that I find a bit confusing. It is branded as an “Ubersuggest” keyword tool, but doesn’t really operate like Ubersuggest.io (which Neil Patel acquired some months ago). It also states further down that it is providing data from SEMRush, who operate one of the most powerful and comprehensive suite of SEO tools used by professional Internet marketers.

In any case, the keyword tool bundled up on the tools.neilpatel.com site doesn’t appear to be tied into the SEO checker, which is the focus of this series of blog posts, so we don’t really need to say more about it. Since it’s free, feel free to experiment and see what suggestions it gives you.

Summing it Up

Pros: This handy tool from Neil Patel is very easy to use, operates quickly, and doesn’t demand personally identifiable information. It hits some of the major areas of a page where a newcomer might overlook easy opportunities for optimization.

Cons: Some of the metrics are unclear and at least one appears to be inaccurate. We also would like to see more readily available information about how to act on the recommendations given. (That having been said, we would like to point out that Neil’s blog is an excellent resource for learning useful tips and techniques for powering up your Digital Marketing overall.)

Do you use the SEO Analyzer? Do you see important things this post overlooks? Do you have a similar tool you’d like to recommend for future reviews?  Feel free to post a comment below. And subscribe to this post to be automatically notified of other reviews soon to come in our SEO Checkers review series.

By The Way, We Also Have a Video Review for this Tool

How to Get Set up With Google Search Console

The Only Problem with Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools)

The only problem you might have with setting up Google Search Console is the verification process.  Google wants you to prove that you are authorized for any property you want to analyze or manage with the Search Console.

In this video I will walk you through the basic ways you can verify your website in Search Console using each of 4 different ways.

If you already know the method you want to use to verify your Search Console account with your website, but simply need a quick demo, use the table of contents I’ve included below:

Jump to a specific verification method demonstration:

  • Verification using a domain name registrar – 6:21
  • Using HTML file upload – 7:46
  • Using an HTML tag (example with WordPress) – 11:41
  • Using Google Analytics – 16:13
  • Using Google Tag Manager – Not covered (if you know how to use Tag Manager you probably don’t need this video anyway)

 

 

 

 

Google Webmaster Tools and Blocked URLs

A Case Study in the Subtle Meanings Behind Webmaster Tools Verbiage

photo of a checkup illustrating website health checksWebsite “health checks”  are one of the standard services we provide to our online marketing and SEO clients.  The purpose of a health check is similar to that of a check-up in your doctor’s office: to alert you to any serious problems that can and should be caught as early as possible to prevent catastrophic problems later on.

Some basic health checks don’t require advanced experience to do, and a lot of in-house webmasters and even website hobbyists can keep their finger on the pulse of their site this way.

When we try to help one of our clients become a more active partner in managing their online marketing, we will occasionally introduce them to one of Google’s most powerful customer support mechanisms: Google Webmaster Tools.  You can perform some of your own Website “health checks” using Webmaster Tools, which is the primary tool we use for determine pain points in any website.

However, if you indeed are one of those intrepid DIY’s, there is a note of caution that you need to hear: Google Webmaster Tools can be notoriously open to misinterpretation.  Let’s take for example a recent request from a client to explain why they were showing a bunch of blocked URLs in Webmaster Tools.  They were understandably concerned.   Wouldn’t you be, if you opened up Webmaster Tools and saw the following:

screen shot of Google webmaster tools warnings

Click on the image to see it larger

But hold on there, you’ve run into one of the first gotchas of peering into the Webmaster Tools dashboard, especially if you only log in once in a while.  There might be a dire warning, but check the date.  Note the next screen shot:

Expanded view of Google Webmaster Tools dashboard showing warning messages

Click on the image to see it larger

 

In the case of this real world example, we can see that the notice is 2 weeks old.  So how do we find out if it’s still valid?

Simple, navigate to the “Health” tab and click on the (appropriately named) “Blocked URLs” tab.

An image of the health and blocked URLs tab in Google Webmaster Tools

 

So now we have another intimidating warning.  This notice says that Googlebot was blocked from 35 URLs, which in this case is basically the whole site.  Not only that, but notice that date, I don’t know what it means but it’s dated yesterday, so this is really bad, right?

Once again, not necessarily.  Notice the little question mark next to the “Blocked URLs” column heading.  Well, if it’s too small here’s a larger image, and also I’ve hovered over the question mark so we can reveal its secrets:

closeup of blocked URLs informational warning

So now we know: Blocked URLs are any that have been blocked in the last 90 days.  Again, this shows that the problem might exist, or it might already be an obsolete issue.  There’s one last place to go for us to render a pretty fair decision on this, namely the “Crawl Errors” tab.  What we see eases our worries, although there’s still some head scratching that needs to be endured:

screen shot of the crawl errors tab in Google Webmaster Tools

 

So here we see the report from Google, showing only one lonely “Access Denied” error.  If we really had 35 pages blocked, each one would show up as triggering an error.

The head-scratching comes in when we try to reconcile these screens.  Why does the Blocked URLs tab show 35 errors in the last 90 days, but this tab, even though it is covering the same 90 days, only shows one.  And not only that, but if you try to find that error in the blue line where error events are tracked, you won’t.  The blue dotted line shows 0 errors on each of the days in this period.

So the conclusion of this is simply not to immediately jump to a conclusion based on Google Webmaster Tools warnings or errors.  Take the time to look for dates and details.  In the long run, you’ll be ahead.